Promoting urban disaster preparedness and mitigation making asian cities safer
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Promoting Urban Disaster Preparedness and Mitigation: Making Asian Cities Safer. By A.J. Rego & Arambepola (ADPC) 7th IIASA-DPRI Forum Coping with Disaster: Challenges for the 21st Century and Beyond 20th September 2007 - Stresa, Italy.

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Promoting Urban Disaster Preparedness and Mitigation: Making Asian Cities Safer

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Promoting Urban Disaster Preparedness and Mitigation: Making Asian Cities Safer

By A.J. Rego & Arambepola (ADPC)

7th IIASA-DPRI Forum

Coping with Disaster: Challenges for the 21st Century and Beyond

20th September 2007 - Stresa, Italy

Growing Cities at Risk from Natural and Technological Hazards

  • By 2004 half world’s population living in urban areas

  • At least 80% of population growth in the 1990s occurred in urban areas

  • 17of the 20 largest cities in the world are in developing countries - many exposed to EQ, landslide, flooding hazard

  • 25 largest cities have over 8 mill. inhabitants

  • Average number of victims in disaster is 150 times greater in developing world mega city than in a developed country mega city

  • Road accidents, industrial, chemical and transport accidents are a growing threat

Cities are vulnerable to disaster risk because of -

  • Rapid urbanization

  • Rural - urban migration

  • Growing population - already stretched resources

  • Poor living standards - build without consideration of safety (time pressures) + in hazard prone areas

  • Lack of public awareness to hazards/risks

  • Building codes are poorly enforced or non-existent

  • Environmental degradation - resource depletion - lowers resilience

Cities are vulnerable to disaster risk because of - (2)

  • Increased risk of industrial/technological hazards - (secondary impacts eg. fire/radiation)

  • Densely packed housing - health risk

  • Disruption to draining channels due to uncontrolled urban growth - flooding

  • Inadequate management or provision of services - waste + sewage disposal, clean water access…

  • The poor building informal settlements on low quality land; which are important …. banks

Vulnerability of the Asian Region

Asia is famous for its great diversities and also for disparities .

Half of the total world population live in Eight disaster prone countries

China, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Japan, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand

Top Two Worst Disasters in Asia 2004

  • Typhoon Nanmadol, Philippines (November) winds of 220 km/hr - at least 412 deaths

  • Indian Ocean Tsunami and EQ (December) - Affecting: Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Thailand, Maldives - death toll at least 212,000

Top Two Worst Disasters in Asia in 2006

The 2 deadliest disasters of 2006 were both in Asia

-Indonesian EQ (May) killing 5,778

-Typhoon Durian (Philippines, Dec.) killing 1,399

Exposure (People/year)> 100'000     10'000 - 10'000     1'000 - 10'000     100 - 1'000     10 - 100

Earthquake Vulnerability in Asia

Earthquakes in Asia

  • The Pacific rim experiences 90% of all the world’s earthquakes.

  • In 1976, China had the most deadly earthquake ever known. It killed 800,000 people.

  • More than 50 cities in Asia with a population greater than 1,000,000 are at significant risk for an earthquake.

  • Recent major events are Iran in 2003, Indonesia in 2004,2005,2006, Pakistan in 2005,

Exposure (People/Year)

> 100'000     10'000 - 100'000     1'000 - 10'000     100 - 1'000     10 - 100

Flood Vulnerability in Asia

Flooding in Asia

  • The year 2000 saw the worst flooding in 60 years for Vietnams’ Mekong Delta region, 40 years for Cambodia, 35 years for Laos, and in a century for western Bangladesh and West Bengal, India.

  • Year 2007 August Floods in India, Nepal and Bangladesh caused significant economic losses

  • Recent events in 2007 show major threat is from flash floods which is evident from Nepal, Bhutan, Thailand, Philippines

Exposure (People/year)

> 100'000     10'000 - 100'000     1'000 - 10'000     100 - 1'000     10 - 100

Cyclones/Typhoon Exposure in Asia

Cyclones/Typhoons in Asia

  • There were 95 major storms in SE Asia and the Pacific regions between 1980-2000.

  • Since 1970, cyclones have killed an estimated 1.5 million in Bangladesh.

  • The October 1999 storm surge in Orissa, India, affected 15 million people, killed 9,500 people, destroyed 3 million homes, and left seven million people homeless.

  • Recent major events were in Karachci Pakistan in 2007, Vietnam and Philippines in 2006

Volcano Occurrence

Volcanoes in Asia

  • Of the 16 largest eruptions in the last two centuries, five occurred in Asia. Three of these, all in Indonesia, killed 130,000 people.

  • The eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991 was the second largest eruption of the 20th century.

  • The Philippines, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea are all at significant risk for volcanic eruptions.

Mt. Pinatubo 1991

Asian Cities at Risk

  • 37% of Asia’s population lived in cities by 2000; this will rise to 60% by 2025

  • More than 50 citiesin Asia with a population greater than 1,000,000are at significant risk from an EQ

  • Rural to urban migration accounts for 64% of city growth in Asia

  • Of the 10 largest Asian cities; 7 are prone to multi hazard risks and are awaiting a catastrophic event

Making Cities Safer

  • Promote householdvulnerability reduction measures

  • Build capacity of local government + emergency services

  • Decentralization of resources + decision making

  • Democratic means of DRR planning

  • Build capacity of community/social groups

  • Create institutional framework for action

  • Enforce appropriate building codes + urban planning guidelines

  • Hazard assessments - physical/social/economic

  • Environmental management

UN-HABITAT Agenda 1996

Agenda actions for disaster prevention:

  • Appropriate laws & standards for land use, building & planning

  • Encourage multi stakeholder participation in DM planning especially vulnerable eg. elderly/disabled

  • Continued mobilization of domestic & international resources for DRR activities

  • Distribute information on disaster resistant construction methods for public works etc.

  • Facilitate voluntary move of people to less disaster prone areas -ensuring access for all

UN-HABITAT Agenda 1996 (2)

  • Training on disaster resistant construction for builders/designers/contractors

  • Upgrade resistance of current infrastructure/critical facilities

  • Risk mapping and vulnerability assessments

  • Community focused vulnerability reduction programs

  • Improve information dissemination on potential hazards

  • Strengthen technological, scientific & engineering capacity for monitoring -EWS

  • Decentralization of authority & resources to enable capacity building for greater resilience

Asian Urban Disaster Mitigation Program (AUDMP) 1995-2004

Implemented by ADPC in 20 secondary cities of 8 countries-

Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Nepal,

Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand

Aim: reduce disaster vulnerability of urban populations, infrastructure & lifeline facilities & shelter in Asia

  • facilitate development of sustainable mechanisms for disaster mitigation

  • build capacity of all stakeholders to mitigate disaster risks

  • promote replication and adaptation of successful mitigation measures elsewhere

AUDMP Project Locations

Safer Cities 12: Demonstration Housing Construction for Landslide and Flood Prone Areas (Sri Lanka)

Why Secondary Cities are a Priority for DRR Programs

Secondary versus Mega Cities -

  • Greater vulnerability - from rapid uncontrolled urbanization

  • High migration rates -greater need for housing & services

  • Economic growth attracts investment

  • In mega cities problems difficult to identify & solutions complex to implement

  • Greater chance of success & measurable change

  • More manageable communities & simpler institutionally

AUDMP Measurable Results

  • 5 of 8 targeted city emergency preparedness & response plans written or revised

  • 95% of the 75% targeted public & private sector professionals working with AUDMP initiated disaster mitigation training

  • 43,000 households benefited from AUDMP sponsored disaster vulnerability reduction activities

  • 5 regional networks, 209 organizations & 1,760 disaster mitigation professionals participating in AUDMP regional information network -started with 33 organizations only

  • In 2002 ADPC’s Urban Strategy Asia 2020 expanded ADPC’s outreach from 30 to 100 cities

Program for Hydro-Meteorological Disaster Mitigation in Secondary Cities in Asia (PROMISE) 2005-2008 Phase I

5 highly vulnerable urbanizing cities: Chittagong (Bangladesh),

Hyderabad (Pakistan), Dagupan (Philippines), Kalutara (Sri Lanka) & Da

Nang (Vietnam) - linked to watersheds, river basins or at risk coastal belts

Aim: to reduce vulnerability of urban communities to hydro-

meteorological disasters in S + SEAsia to measurably alleviate human

suffering, prevent loss of life, and reduce the potential for physical and

economic damage through:

  • City demonstration projects

  • Regional + national capacity building

  • Advocacy for mainstreaming of risk management in urban governance

  • Regional network + information dissemination

PROMISE - Philippines:Dagupan City

Problem: reduced capacity of rivers due to heavy rains, upstream bank erosion clogging channel & transport of lahar material - causing floods (eg. 1990)


Technical Working Group -plan, monitor, document, train and maintain

Capacity building of community & authorities

Work with stakeholders

Risk Communication Plan

Institutional change - Disaster Preparedness Day (July 16th)

ADPC Urban Strategy Asia 2020

ADPC and partners working with 100 cities to reduce urban vulnerability and build disaster resilient communities through 4 strategies:

  • Planning and Building Safer Cities

  • Emergency Management & Response Planning for Cities

  • Public Awareness Campaigns

  • Knowledge Development & Capacity Building:

Specific Action

  • ‘How- to’ resource toolkits that translate awareness into action

  • Specific UDRM focussed courses targeted at city & national officials & private sector developers

  • Partnerships with urban authorities & regional city networks (Citynet, ICMA, IULA, ICLEZ)

  • Safer sister city partnerships & network

Linking Climate Change to Urban Risk Reduction

  • Study areas where improvement to governance structure is needed to enhance resilience of the poor communities in the urban coastal low-lying areas

  • Analyse trends in primary (meteorological) events and secondary impacts (health hazards, slope destabilization etc) in built up areas to assess consequences of sea level rise & impact in urban coastal areas

  • The scientific community in Asia has not yet undertaken adequate interest in conducting multi- sectoral studies to understand & prepare inventories of the climate change impacts on coastal ecosystems

Long Term Strategies for DRR

  • There is an urgent need to make risk mitigation one of the essential components of urban governance and creating policy, legal and institutional arrangements to ensure safer urban communities

  • The city level risk maps, using GPS and RS techniques transforming the community knowledge into formal products, can be integrated in other maps to see the changing risk scenario

  • Ensure access to information by public

  • Urban community based approach to convert the victimized communities to a resource

Long Term Strategies for DRR (2)

  • Participatory approach for scenario building, risk assessment & action planning can also generate much needed awareness

  • Ensuring safer housing & shelter, capable of withstanding hazard events, require quality assurance of housing construction and infrastructure as an essential part of urban risk reduction

  • Making the private sector partner in development means it should also shoulder some responsibility in urban DRR

Long Term Strategies for DRR (3)

  • Activating poor and motivating them to become resilient against natural calamities is an answer to the key issue of poverty reduction

  • Vulnerability reduction should be integrated into the development process so that it can contribute to sustainability, empowerment & community resilience

  • Support the implementation aspects of Hyogo Framework of Action & create more awareness about HFA

  • Advocate strongly for decentralization of disaster risk management functions to local government sector & integrating in other sector based programs as a routine practice to facilitate building safer communities

  • Mainstream DRR into local governance

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